Visual Culture

This unit is focused on the act of looking and the role of images and representations in our world. After studying current cultural theory about images, we will apply these concepts to our viewing of films.

Essential Questions

In addition to our class Essential Questions, this unit asks:
  • What is the human impulse to reproduce the world around us in image form?
  • What is the value of art?
  • What is the tension between an “original” and a “reproduction”?
  • What truth is captured in an image?

What you should be able to do as a result of this unit

  • Articulate your understanding of the need and desire for humans to create re-images of their world
  • Define your own idea of the value of art
  • Discuss and analyze the different ways cinema captures a “truth”

Final Assignment

  • Thesis essay using the concepts and ideas from the readings to analyze one of the films

Thurs 3/1
Reviewing Hitchcock scene analyses

HW:  no official homework due tomorrow but work on your Film Journal Entry #3 due Monday

Fri 3/2

Intro to Unit

Reading and annotating Practices of Looking Introduction p. 1-16

Annotate for – Key Terms, Significant Ideas, New Information, and Confusing Information

Mon 3/5

cont. Hitchock scenes

Tues 3/6

Continue intro to unit

HW: Finish reading and annotating Practices of Looking

Wed 3/7-Fri 3/9
Snow days

Mon 3/12

Reviewing reading from Practices of Looking

Tues 3/13
Snow day

Thurs 3/29

Wed 3/14

  • Working with your assigned group, you will identify the new information, significant information, key terms, and confusing information for us to discuss the text
  • Find another image that relates to your assigned section of Practices of Looking. Print it out! so that you may include it on your group’s poster to help support the main ideas of your section and apply it to your own visual culture. Then, write a response in your journal about how the image connects to your topic. Use both details from the image and evidence from the text to support your understanding.

HW:  print out other image to apply concepts

Thurs 3/15

Fri 3/16
cont. with prepping for presentations

Presentations on Practices of Looking

  • Applying understanding to images

Mon 3/19
Introduction to original vs. reproductions, documentaries, and Banksy

John Berger Ways of Seeing — Watch the video below and Ways of Seeing Viewing Guide

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

HW: Finish prep for quiz on concepts

Tues 3/20

After taking the quiz, research Banksy

  • Who is he?
  • What kind of art is he known for?
  • Print out one of his works that you like and do some writing:
    • What details do you notice?
    • What location was the work ‘installed’ in?
    • What drew you to the work?

Wed 3/21

Thurs 3/22
Introduction to original vs. reproductions, documentaries, and Banksy

Exit Through the Gift Shop and Viewing Guide

Fri 3/23
cont.  Exit

Mon 3/26
cont. Exit

HW:  Exit Through the Gift Shop Discussion Prep

Tues 3/27

Wed 3/28
Socratic Seminar on Exit

  • Tracking your partner
  • Reflection

HW:  Appropriation is the intentional borrowing, copying, and alteration of preexisting images and objects. It is a strategy that has been used by artists for millennia, but took on new significance in mid-20th-century America and Britain with the rise of consumerism and the proliferation of popular images through mass media outlets from magazines to television (

Tonight’s homework is to print/cut out images that pre-exist in our visual culture and do some writing about them.  Tomorrow in class you will be intentional in how you borrow, copy, and/or alter your images.  The writing should be in your notebook and about two page in length, addressing the following:

  • What details are in the image(s)?
  • How did the artist use specific creative techniques to attract your attention?
  • What is the message being sent from the image(s)?
  • How do(es) [the] image(s) exist in our visual culture?

Thurs 3/29
Appropriating images

Using the work you did last night writing about your chosen image, play with the image. Be be intentional in how you borrow, copy, and/or alter your images.

HW: Reading and annotating  The Allegory of the Cave_ and Plato’s Cave Questions

Fri 3/30
No School – Enjoy the long weekend

Mon 4/2
Experiencing the cave

  • What is the concept of the allegory of the cave?
  • How does it affect what you see?
  • How does this apply to film?


What do you know about Marie Antoinette?

Tues 4/3
Marie Antoinette and Marie_Viewing_Questions

Wed 4/4
cont. Marie Antoinette 

HW:  Classroom response:  How are the “shadows” (the film) affecting what you believe? Your response should discuss the myth of photographic truth and apply specific scenes and details from Marie Antoinette to support your discussion.  An excellent response will start with a compelling thesis and use details from the film to fully support your discussion.

Thurs 4/5
finish. Marie Antoinette

HW:  Enjoy the break!

Mon 4/16
Read overview of assignment, choose concept, and submit the proposal

Tues 4/17

Wed 4/18
Drafting the introduction about your concept

cont. outline

HW:  submit the introduction

Thurs 4/19
drafting & conferences

Fri 4/20
drafting and conferences

Mon 4/23
Final in-class work day

Tues 4/24
Submit essay on google doc with images and text